Peacock is adding live TV to its repertoire in a big way, but only for subscribers that pay for the service’s top-tier Premium Plus plan. Today, NBCUniversal announced that customers in all 210 affiliate markets will be gaining 24/7 access to their local NBC station. Peacock Premium Plus costs $9.99 per month or $99.99 annually.
Once the new feature is available in your market — some are going live as early as today, and everyone will have live TV by November 30th — you’ll see a new channel on the Peacock homepage that matches your local broadcast network.
The 24/7 live stream means you’ll be able to watch local news and sports, plus NBC’s primetime hits like Law & Order: SVU, Young Rock, Chicago Fire, and Dateline NBC. And we can’t forget about mainstays like The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live.
By integrating live TV into Peacock, NBCUniversal is trying to match and surpass Paramount Plus, which has included local programming since the days when that service was still known as CBS All Access. Paramount claims its live TV stream reaches 99 percent of the United States, with 206 markets currently listed on its website. It’s a bit surprising that NBCUniversal has been so slow to counter that offering, but getting every single NBC affiliate on board was probably no small challenge.
As of October, Peacock tallied 30 million active accounts and over 15 million paying subscribers. “It’s 70 percent more than we started the year with,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said of the paid plan momentum. But the majority of Peacock’s subscribers are almost certainly on the $4.99 Premium plan, which provides access to all of the service’s content, including live events from WWE, Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and the upcoming World Cup. The Premium Plus upgrade comes with mostly no ads and the ability to download select content for offline viewing.
Aside from a good old antenna, this is now one of the cheapest ways to receive a live, linear feed of local NBC stations. Streaming TV services continue to raise prices on a regular basis, with Sling TV’s recent hike serving as the latest example. But those bundles obviously contain much broader entertainment options than NBCUniversal’s own programming. For households that are big on NBC’s shows and overall programming, maybe this will be enough to pull some of them away from Sling, YouTube TV, and Hulu with Live TV.
Now the question becomes how long it’ll be until Peacock increases its own prices. It feels like an inevitability for every streaming service as they continue to compete for your eyeballs and monthly subscription budget.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.